Why I Am An Agnostic [Short Version]
Robert Howard Kroepel
Copyright © 2000
20 South Shore Road
New Durham, New Hampshire, USA 03855-2107
From conversations with people who are not philosophers,
most people define theist, atheist, and agnostic in the following ways:
A theist is defined as a person who believes
in the existence of gods/goddesses; who has a belief that gods/goddesses
exist; who asserts that gods/goddesses exist; who offers proof that gods/goddesses
Concerning religion, the fundamental question is this:
Do Mystical Beings Exist?
An atheist is defined as a person who does
not believe in the existence of gods/goddesses; who has no belief that
gods/goddesses exist; who asserts that gods/goddesses do not exist; who
offers proof that gods/goddesses do not exist.
An agnostic is defined as a person who does
not believe in the existence of gods/goddesses and who therefore has no
belief in the existence of gods/goddesses but who also knows that proof
of the existence or nonexistence of gods/goddesses is inconclusive and
who therefore suspends his belief until conclusive proof is available;
who asserts that there is no proof that gods/goddesses exist or do not
Mystical beings are defined as gods/goddesses/demons/demonnesses
believed to have more knowledge than man [mankind], and more powers to
use their superior knowledge to create things and events man cannot currently
Beings are defined as things who/which have
minds which are their personal systems of desires, fears and priorities
which cause their actions and reactions which are their behavior and which
cause their feelings, personalities, mental problems, and mental health.
To exist is defined as having the property
of being real, actual, in contrast to having the property of being the
content of an idea, a mental representation.
Mystical beings are not necessarily supernatural
beings. To be supernatural would somehow require being not within the natural
universe, and not subject to the limitations of the matter and energy of
the natural universe.
To not be subject to the natural limitations of
matter and energy is logically impossible.
The universe is defined as the arena, theatre, location,
geography within which all things including human beings and mystical beings
Matter and energy are the only known sources of
causality, causes of effects, and, therefore, mystical beings would be
expected consist of matter and energy and to use matter and energy to create
(cause) changes in people/things/events (effects).
If mystical beings are a part of the natural universe
(the only universe that exists in reality in contrast to being the content
of an idea, a fantasy), then though limited by the limitations of matter
and energy they nevertheless may have knowledge and powers superior to
man and therefore able to create (cause) many if not most of the people/things/events
within the universe. Thus the concept of a mystical being who/which is
a part of the natural universe (the only universe) is a rational idea;
it is not, as atheists complain, an irrational idea.
Thus, the concept of a mystical being who/which
is a natural part of the universe is not an irrational idea. The problem
is that we have no proof that mystical beings exist.
To prove that mystical beings exist, in contrast
to being the content of an idea, proof is required.
Proof consists of
I am a scientist.
Physical evidence: people/things/events who/which can be seen/heard/touched/smelled/tasted.
Eyewitness reports by credible eyewitnesses.
Logical arguments in which the premises are verifiable/falsifiable
and verified to be true and lead to a conclusion which has to be true if
the premises are verified to be true.
I think like a scientist.
I follow The Code of Science.
The Code of Science
I. Science is the organized study of the people/things/events who/which
are the natural phenomena of reality for the purpose of determining the
causality among the people/things/events of reality.
Causality is the cause-and-effect relationships
among the people/things/events. Causality describes which people/things/events
cause other people/things/events.
Scientific knowledge is the description of
the causality between/among the people/things/events who/which are the
natural phenomena of reality.
II. Scientists must create operational definitions of the terms
they wish to use so they can communicate effectively with themselves, with
other scientists, and with nonscientists.
Operational definitions are definitions which
present the observations and/or measurements [descriptions] of the people/things/events
who/which are natural phenomena; operational definitions can be used to
define complex and abstract concepts, principles and techniques. For example,
children often use sentence structures of "_____ [concept/principle being
defined] is when _____ [observation/measurement/description of the actions/reactions
of people/things/events being operationally defined]." A child may create
an operational definition of love in the following way: "Love
is when someone says they like you and they do nice things for you and
with you ." The child's observation/measurement/description of the
actions/reactions of someone who loves provides an operational definition
of the term love.
III. Scientists must follow the scientific method in determining
the causality of people/things/events.
The Scientific Method
Thus, the scientific method requires observation of the people/things/events
of reality and does not allow speculation or religious dogma to be passed
off as facts/truth.
Specify the unit of study [the people/things/events to be studied].
Observe and/or measure the units of study to gather data.
Create a causal hypothesis which describes and predicts the causes of effects
among the people/things/events who/which are the units of study.
Observe/measure more people/things/events who/which are units of study
to gather additional data which can be used to confirm [verify] or deny
the causal hypothesis].
Determine if or not the additional data confirm/verify or deny the causal
If the data confirm the causal hypothesis, then let other people know of
the hypothesis and the scientific method that lead to the creation and
confirmation of the hypothesis, and declare the verified/confirmed hypothesis
to be a scientific law/law of nature; but if the data do not confirm the
causal hypothesis, then either revise the hypothesis to fit the data, or
else create a new hypothesis and follow the Scientific Method Steps 4-6.
IV. Scientists must list the scientific principles they have determined
to be scientific principles/laws of nature, so other people can know what
the scientists claim to be knowledge. Moreover, scientists must publish/present
the observations and measurements of natural phenomena (units of study)
by which they created and by which they confirmed/verified their causal
hypotheses in order that other scientists may replicate/duplicate their
observations and measurements to confirm/deny their causal hypotheses and
claims of scientific principles.
When scientists are required to provide detailed
descriptions of their observations and experiments, other scientists can
replicate their observations and experiments and thereby confirm their
claims of scientific knowledge. By this process of constant checking of
claims of knowledge, the Code of Science and the scientific method produce
an increasing body of scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge created
by scientists who follow the Code of Science and the scientific method
may overturn the claims of “experts” or “authorities” including priests.
That has happened throughout the centuries. People must have the truth—the
facts—for making rational decisions, and the Code of Science including
the scientific method offers a way to discover and learn the truth/facts
that is more reliable than the claims of those who refuse to observe and
experiment with the real world people/things/events who/which are natural
Mystical beings to date have not and most likely cannot
be contacted and persuaded to be verified by means of the scientific method.
Therefore, to date, we cannot verify or falsify their existence. This does
not mean they do not exist, but it does mean that we cannot accept as true
the concept of mystical beings.
I hold that holy books should be inspired by mystical
beings; and that if holy books are inspired by mystical beings, then those
holy books should contain only truth and thus should not contain any inconsistencies.
The Christian Bible has inconsistencies which prove
that it was not inspired by mystical beings.
Moreover, the Christian Bible has been proven to
have been written to lure people into believing in Jesus as The Christ
and thus was fictionalized. The stories of Jesus and the miracles, etc.,
are fictions written to persuade people that Jesus was half-man and half-god,
who had a message showing people how to attain eternal life, and therefore
was worthy of worship. The Jewish Bible was rewritten to become the Christian
Old Testament with the prophecies rewritten to foretell the coming of Jesus
Christ. The Christian New Testament was written to prove that Jesus Christ
fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. Thus, the Christian old Testament
is supposed to be true because it predicts Jesus Christ and the Christian
New Testament is supposed to be true because it fulfills the Old Testament
prophecies. The problem with all this is that the Jewish Bible prophecies
predict local events within a limited time period and not events concerning
Jesus Christ many years later and outside the original limited time period.
And thus the fictional nature of the Christian Bible proves that it is
not a true work about mystical beings but, instead, a work written by people
trying to convince other people to become Christians. This fictionalization
process sounds like modern advertising fictions designed to sell a product
or a service and must therefore be rejected.
If I am to be an agnostic, I must have criteria
for accepting proof of the existence of mystical beings. It is not fair
to reject a concept of a mystical being without having some criteria by
which a mystical being could be observed and measured and therefore certified/verified
to exist and to be a mystical being.
To believe in mystical beings, I would have to see/hear/touch
(though not necessarily smell/taste) a god/goddess (and, hopefully, not
a demon/demonness, although the existence of a demon/demonness would prove
the existence of mystical beings and therefore the likely existence of
gods/goddesses who/which would most likely be more pleasant to worship
and therefore prompt me to reject the demons/demonnesses); the mystical
beings would have to perform “miracles” such as resurrecting people truly
known to be dead, such as my mother and father, to cure diseases man cannot
currently cure, to regenerate new limbs for people who have lost their
limbs, to cause rain to fall on cue, etc.; and the mystical beings would
have to talk with us and tell us their history, what they want from us,
whether or not we could have an afterlife, and how we could earn such an
Until I see/hear/touch/smell/taste a mystical being,
until a mystical being performs miracles and thus proves himself to be
a being of knowledge and powers superior to man, and until a mystical being
spends time with humans and tells us what he/she/it expects of us (wants
from us, want us to do), then I must remain an agnostic.